A warm round of applause isn’t something you generally expect to hear at a funeral, even more so when it’s accompanied by enthusiastic barks. But this was no regular farewell.
Family, friends and teammates along with loyal companion – his pet dog ‘Hulk,’ joined together to celebrate and pay their respects, as Scott D’Souza — a 26-year-old professional footballer scored his ‘final goal’ on October 30th, Friday.
In a tragic sequence of events, Scott started feeling uncomfortable during a game of football with his friends on October 28th. He was rushed to PD Hinduja Hospital in Mahim but there was little the doctors could do, declaring him a departed soul even before admission.
At his funeral, Scott’s teammates arranged for a special tribute to say goodbye to their main man. Forming two rows they passed the ball down, but made sure Scott got the final touch. The ball deflected off his coffin and into the goal, in what was a perfect goodbye to a friend and teammate who revelled in scoring goals and bringing joy to those around him.
Family, friends and teammates along with loyal companion – his pet dog ‘Hulk,’ joined together to pay their respects to Scott D’Souza, a 26-year-old professional footballer, who scored his ‘final goal’ 🙏🏻 😢#IndianFootball ⚽ pic.twitter.com/fgRSUCwh8l— Indian Football Team (@IndianFootball) November 5, 2020
“He was an awesome football player. Just before the lockdown he even represented Mumbai in a district-level tournament at Kolhapur helping his team reach the finals. Hence, we thought this was the most fitting way for us to say goodbye to him.” said Gordon Fernandes, friend and co-owner of the team FC Cecillians which was started by Scott’s dad Ozwald D’Souza.
Scott turned out regularly for FC Cecilians and was even sharing administrative responsibilities of the team after his dad passed away earlier this year.
“Cecilians are a very young side and he played a couple of tournaments with us. He always motivated the younger players. When Ozzy (his father) passed away Scott took over and joined in taking care of the team. He messaged me just four days before this happened saying, ‘Once I get fit, I’ll play again with the boys’.” Fernandes informed.
Another teammate, Johnson D’silva remembered the special memories he shared with his friend. “I’ve known Scott since school but we started playing together after college for Central Bank, and then the Hero I-League 2nd division for PIFA Sports, and various other tournaments.”
“He was the jolliest person in our team, always a benefit to whoever he played for, with the strength and power in his legs. We called him Zlatan. The fact that he also represented Union Bank and Air India shows you how good a player he was.”
Scott’s powerful kicks were a feature right from his school days. Tony D’Souza, his Sports Co-ordinator at Don Bosco Matunga recalls: “It was during the 10th standard that he started playing as a forward instead of defence. He had an outstanding year. His trademark powerful shots earned him a name. He would take all the free-kicks, and he had even scored from the half-line at times.”
Another constant feature was his good-natured spirit, “He was a person whom anyone could get along with. Even if there was a joke cracked at his expense he would never get angry. He got along very well with his teammates and had immense respect for his coaches and teachers.” recalled Tony.
However, Scott’s jolly nature and footballing prowess are best captured in a memory which his mother recently shared with Gordon. “I met his mom yesterday. We had gone to give a trophy and she was saying — Scott on his good days would ask me ‘How many goals you want Mama?’ And he would actually score that many and come home.”
Scott is survived by his mother, brother and Hulk who was a regular on the side-lines whenever Scott used to practice with his team.